Advertisements
jump to navigation

Gaming History You Should Know [dot]HACK// Retrospective December 9, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Last year I became obsessed with the .HACK franchise. Created in an incredible partnership between Bandai and Cyberconnect 2, .HACK was one of the first franchises I had ever seen that was designed from the start to be transmedia. At the same time the .HACK games were being released on the PlayStation 2, there was also an animated TV series that tied into different events happening at the same time of the game. The entire franchise revolves around the lives of the players of a VR MMORPG named (literally) The World.

I remembered fondly watching the initial crucial reviews for the first games in this franchise back when G4TV was in its heyday, but as a PC-only gamer at the time who didn’t own a PS2, I could never afford to purchase the original games for myself. By the time I could, their prices had exploded in the second hand market, once again bringing them out of reach.

Last year, NamcoBandai did a great thing and re-released the second (and arguably most beloved) series in the .HACK franchise, .HACK//G.U., on the PS4 and PC. The original animated series like .HACK//Sign have been re-released as DVD boxed sets. I bought up as much of it as I could. However, the original four PS2 games from the franchise were not re-released, and I was disheartened to know I would be going into a game franchise with a big gap of information.

Enter YouTuber Model, who began work on an in-depth series of .HACK// retrospectives at around the same time I was getting to learn more about the franchise’s history. His videos were incredibly paced and exceptionally well edited, with great production values all around. They have been perfect at filling in the essential gaps left out by BandiNamco’s refusal to re-release many of these classic games. Today, Model released his fourth video retrospective on .HACK// Vol 4, completing his retrospective of the original PS2 .HACK// quadrilogy. You can watch each of them below, with each video covering one of the four games in their entirety. Be aware, there will be spoilers, but my guess is if you’re watching this it’s because you want this information.

I have to admit I am grateful for one thing, the fact that much of the .HACK// franchise has been re-released over the past few years. I’ve even seen soundtrack albums available for purchase at import stores. However, there are still several original games (and one film) that never was released outside of Japan, and these four older games from the first series fetch astronomical prices on the secondhand market. I would prefer to see NamcoBandai (or BandaiNamco) re-release these four fondly remembered games (as well as everything that was previously Japan-Only) on modern systems. They still own the franchise and Cyberconnect2 clearly still has a soft spot for the franchise they created, so there is literally no reason not to.

At some point I would like to take a closer look at the franchise but this is more than enough for now! Special thanks to Model for letting us feature his videos here on the site. You can also read his Twitter here. Great work buddy! Model promises to continue his retrospective series with a look at the .HACK//G.U. games, but he expects those to take a while.

.HACK// Episodes 1-4 are out now exclusively on the PlayStation 2.

Advertisements

Gaming History You Should Know – The Flash Animations of Ubergeek.tv November 4, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced content from all over the web. Back in the annals of Internet history was a now-defunct website called Ubergeek.tv. It featured some unique flash content, ranging from videos to simple games. If there was an all-encompassing theme to his content, it was that it was revolving around Linux and Open Source software. It was some of the most humorous and eye-catching internet content of all time.

If the site is so good why haven’t I included a direct hyperlink to it, you ask? It would be pointless. Sadly, the site is no longer functional, and if you were to visit its url you would find nothing. What did this mean to the site’s content? Thankfully many of the best videos produced for it have been reposted on YouTube and we are going to take a look at some of them here. Let’s take a look at memory lane shall we?

Do many of you still remember the successful Switch to Mac ads of the 2000s? Honestly, I didn’t like them. While the actors who starred in them were decent with great chemistry, Apple would gloss over the information they provided about their computers in a way I felt was borderline unethical. This parody video on the other hand is just great. Here’s Ubergeek’s take on it, which I feel could only have been inspired if not from himself than from the words of a proud Mac owner.

Next up are some of his Linux related videos. Here’s a different parody of the Switch to Mac commercial only this time it’s about switching to Linux. If you were a supervillian wouldn’t you use Linux?

You like Linux? You like toast? Who wouldn’t like Intellitoast? I was seriously considering building a computer like this after seeing this video.

Next up is a short run of an animated flash game he produced called Penguin Blood Ninja Fiasco. In it you play a ninja penguin tasked to save open source software from evil lawyers. It was heavily inspired by the legal challenges to the GPL in the early 00s. The game itself is no longer playable but there is a full walkthrough video of the game online with its intro and outro included.

That’s just a look at some of the site’s content that has made its way back online, but not everything has been reposted. So far, his henchman soundboard and his final animation, Geeks in Love (which I have seen in its entirety and believe to be a masterpiece) has not been reposted but we will post a follow up with this article when it does. Special thanks to the original creator of the site who let me feature these videos on here. He told me he just enjoys making content and he’s happy for all the love he’s gotten for them!

Gaming History You Should Know – Virtua Fighter RPG August 26, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

In the 90s, fighting games utterly dominated the arcade market. Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II were probably the two biggest games I can remember from my arcade-playing days. They were just great to play, had great graphics, decent realism, and didn’t shy away from showing blood. However, these games kept the fighting to a 2D perspective, which limited a player’s options. Then, out of nowhere, Sega released Virtua Fighter.

Directed by Game God Yu Sazuki, Virtua Fighter revolutionized arcades by being the first ever 3D fighting game. The transition to 3D added a whole new depth (pardon the pun) to the genre. Players could now strafe their opponents in a 3D environment. Character models could now be made in 3D, laying the groundwork for an entirely new updated art style. And of course, players would now run the risk of getting knocked out of their fighting space.

It’s Sunday, welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, where we highlight some of the best independently produced documentaries on gaming history. Today, in honor of the release of Shenmue I & II earlier in the week, we are going to highlight the special project that would eventually serve as the basis for that franchise, the Virtua Fighter RPG. This was a project that Yu Sazuki began to work on in the final days of the Sega Saturn. His intention was to tell a story in eleven chapters, provide unlimited environment interactivity and keep the fighting system that defined Virtua Fighter completely intact. Sadly, it was not to be, the game was never released.

So what came of this game, and why do I bring it up on the week of the re-release of Shenmue I & II? I’ll let YouTuber YuriofWind take it from here with an episode of his series, Gaming Mysteries.

Special thanks to YuriofWind for letting me feature his video on the site. If you’d like to check out more of his Gaming Mysteries video, you can visit his YouTube Channel here. For those of you thought this sounded like a great idea and wished this game would have come out, worry no longer. Most of its content will likely find its way into the Shenmue franchise. If you’d like to see more of what this early game footage looked like, you can find early footage here.

Shenmue I & II are out now for the PC, Xbox One and PS4.

Gaming History You Should Know – Sega’s Absolutely Rose Street July 29, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Its Sunday and that means we’ve got an all-new look into Gaming History You Should Know, where we feature some of the best gaming history documentaries from across the web. Today, we’ll be talking about something so obscure and short-lived, even I hadn’t heard about it until I saw this documentary!

By the mid-90s, Sega was doing everything they could to extend the lifespan of their popular Genesis console until they could release a proper 32-bit game system. While the Genesis was well-received by gamers, it’s expansions, the Sega CD and the Sega 32x, were not as popular. In fact, while many people found several things to like about the Sega CD, there wasn’t much commercial interest in the 32X. Sega needed to do something drastic to change that.

Sega’s marketing department decided to make a 30 minute late-night infomercial to sell the 32x and they called it Absolutely Rose Street. This may sound a bit odd, since modern late-night infomercials typically sell home appliances, but infomercials can be made to sell anything as long as the price is right and this was not the first time Sega made an infomercial to sell something. I mean, who can forget the Sega Channel?

Wrestling with Gaming, who we featured previously on the site, put together another fantastic obscure gaming documentary on this 30-minute Sega produced 32x commercial. Give it a watch!

Gaming History You Should Know – The Gizmondo July 8, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Welcome back to Gaming History You Should Know, our regular Sunday series where we highlight some of the best content across the web that covers gaming history. One of our favorite channels on YouTube is LGR, short for Lazy Game Reviews. They’re typically the first channel that comes up whenever I look up review for classic PC games from my youth, or closer looks into classic computers like the old IBM PCs.

In 2005, for about a split second, the retailer GameStop devoted a section on their website for a new handheld product called the Gizmondo. I had heard nothing but bad things about it back in the day, and almost as suddenly it appeared, it disappeared. What was it, what could it do that other handhelds of the time couldn’t, and why did it fail? LGR knows, and you should watch his video to get all the answers you need.

For what it was, the Gizmondo was an interesting experiment, but it remains only that. Thanks to LGR for this amazing video and if you want to see more, you can check out all of their great content here!

Gaming History You Should Know – Pokemon Event Cartridges May 14, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Welcome back to another episode of Gaming History You Should Know, where we feature some of the best fan created content focused on the history of gaming.

Since the first Pokémon games were released, The Pokémon Company has always included exclusive mythical Pokémon that players wouldn’t be able to capture through normal means.  In the first Pokémon games, Mew became the most sought after trade, and the only place to get one was at a Toys ‘R Us Store during a limited-time event. It was a huge success. In fact, Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajeri would say Mew was probably the reason the Pokémon franchise took off.

In the years before the wider adoption of internet access, keeping up with when and if your local store would host such an event came down to pure luck. When the second generation of Pokémon games were released on the Game Boy Color, the mythical Pokémon Celebi players who weren’t lucky enough to live in Japan with a cell phone sought out Celebi by going to a similar limited distribution event, but it has been difficult for me to recover information about its US distribution.

Over the years, there have been plenty more ways for The Pokémon Company to release special Mythical Pokémon. As technology improved, new methods were developed to get them in the hand of players. YouTube Channel Pikasprey Yellow produced a fantastic video where he showed how these Pokémon were distributed over the years. Give it a watch!

I want to give another shout out to Pikasprey Yellow, his series Lost Content was an incredible resource in my research into Pokémon’s past.

Gaming History You Should Know – The Pokewalker March 4, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Welcome to Gaming History You Should Know, where we typically highlight some of the best gaming history videos from across the internet. Nintendo has frequently been known as the ultimate gaming innovator. They take risks on gaming technology with the hopes of bringing in new players. A lot of times, this is a huge success for them.

Before going all-in on a new risk, Nintendo has been known to experiment with new kinds of gaming peripherals, particularly with their handheld platforms. Pokémon were the highest selling games on each Game Boy platform, so Nintendo experimented with wireless multiplayer by including a wireless multiplayer adapter with the Generation 1 remakes, enabling players to battle and trade with each other without a wired link cable. This must have been a successful test because when the Nintendo DS was released, local wireless multiplayer was a built-in feature.

One of the highest-risk Nintendo experiments Pokémon fans will remember would be the exclusive peripheral Nintendo included with every new copy of the Generation 2 remakes Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver, the Pokewalker. Here’s the trailer:

On paper, the Pokewalker was a great idea. It used similar technology to what was found in the Tamogachi toy which was popular in the mid-90s, but it did more with the technology that made the Tamogachi great. They were small and featured technology that wasn’t as fast or graphically capable as larger systems, but that made them cheap to mass produce and super portable.

The YouTube Channel YellowSuperNintendo focuses on game consoles and anime style games. Recently, they produced what I consider to be the best video currently on the entire internet about the Pokewalker. If you’ve ever wondered what the Pokewalker was and what it could do, I’ll let his video explain it to you.

However, while the Pokewalker had a lot of good, there were a few issues with it. On top of the issues YellowSuperNintendo mentioned, it wasn’t water resistant. Absent minded trainers could easily forget they had it in their pocket or clipped to their shirt. It certainly wouldn’t survive a run through a washing machine.

Sadly, the Pokewalker appears to have been just an experiment, as Nintendo would go on to release future generations of Pokémon games with no further support of the Pokewalker. Slowly, Pokémon Trainers stopped taking them everywhere they went, choosing instead to take their full-sized Nintendo DS out on the go. By the time Pokémon Black and Pokémon White were released, the Pokewalker became obsolete.

While newer Pokémon games do not support the Pokewalker, its legacy continues to live on. The Nintendo 3DS has the ability to wirelessly communicate with other 3DS units while in standby mode. This enables players to exchange Mii data for use in StreetPass games. The 3DS also has an internal step counter, and also like the Pokewalker, owners can play minigames on their 3DS system using the steps they took each day as in-game currency.

While the Pokewalker is now only a memory, there’s an all-new accessory designed for a new generation of Pokémon Trainers. Pokémon Go Plus is a Bluetooth accessory designed to interact with Smartphones playing Pokémon Go. While it lacks a screen and the ability to communicate with other owners of the accessory, it enhances the functionality of Pokémon Go and adds a new level of fun to the game.

What do you all think of the Pokewalker? Do you think it was an unnecessary gimmick, an essential stepping stone in gaming history, or just a fun bonus? If you have one, do you still use yours? Post a comment below with your thoughts! Special thanks to YellowSuperNintendo for making such great content and for giving us permission to feature him on the site. You can check out his videos here.

Pokémon HeartGold and Pokémon SoulSilver are exclusive to the Nintendo DS. Pokémon Go is out now for Android and iOS Smartphones.

Gaming History You Should Know – Pokemon Live February 18, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

It’s Sunday, and that heralds the return of Gaming History You Should Know, where we look at some of the best content from across the web about gaming industry. Even in today’s world of video games, HDTVs and IMAX movies, there’s always room for the live stage. Heck, many of the greatest stories ever told started as stage productions made for a live audience. With high end stage productions so expensive, Broadway is now taking safe bets. Today’s Broadway lineup is filled with adaptations of recognizable properties from film, television and comic books.

Did you know that back in the early 2000s, there was one live stage production so ahead of its time, no company has dared do something similar to it since? It was an adaptation of the most successful gaming franchise in history, Pokémon Live.

Whether you’re a Pokémon fan or just a fan of theatrical productions, doesn’t this look awesome? Pokémon Live was a live-action musical stage show which launched during the peak of Pokémon’s popularity. The show was written by the same team members responsible for the English dub of Pokémon: The Animated Series, and featured an entirely original non-canon story based on the characters from the animated show.

I actually remember hearing about Pokémon Live, back when it first launched. I was watching Pokémon: The Animated Series daily at the time, and I would have loved to check out the show back in the day. Unfortunately, like with everything popular and important, no production of the show ever came anywhere close to where I lived, and I could never afford to go and see it. To make things worse, Pokémon Live didn’t last very long on stage. Pokémon Fever died down shortly before the release of Pokémon Crystal, and interest in the show must not have been able to sustain its production costs, closing the opportunity for me to ever witness it.

So while the show was no longer in production, was any footage of the show recorded on video? Enter the incredible YouTube video producer, Chadtronic. His channel describes him as “a pillow throwing manchild stuck in the ’90s [who] makes a variety of comedic videos.” I first heard about him when I was doing some research on Pokémon toy collecting, because he did a great video about Burger King’s original Pokémon Kid’s Meal toys. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they were a huge promotion during the height of Pokémon‘s popularity and you can watch it right here.

It’s clear to me that Chadtronic is a Pokémon fan, as he’s done plenty of more original videos about the franchise over the years. However, one video he did that should be considered his crowning jewel is his video about Pokémon Live, particularly his search for high-quality video footage of the live show.

After Chadtronic published his video about Pokémon Live, the internet set to action. One of those people from the internet, known as The Gamer From Mars, has been a great resource when it comes to finding lost material. While he hasn’t found that Disney Channel movie I talked about a few years ago, he first came under my radar when he made a video about the Nickelodeon made for TV movie, Cry Baby Lane. a film that most people believed was actually a myth… until it turned out it was real. The Gamer From Mars did a video of his own about the lost Pokémon Live production tapes. Some of his video covers the same information Chadtronic found, but some new information about the production surfaced since Chadtronic published his video, and it was included. I highly recommend giving it a watch.

So after all that anticipation, you want to see Pokémon Live for yourself, don’t you? Well here it is courtesy of its production stage manager, Chris Mitchell.

Unfortunately, this low-quality video is the best complete footage that currently exists of Pokémon Live. While I appreciate Chris uploaded what he recorded online, the public has never been able to get their hands on a higher quality video recording of the show. What a shame.

Some day we may see an official professionally recorded release of the original Pokémon Live stage show. Until then, you can read the actual script for the stage show right here (hosted with permission of the writer). The musical notes for the live show’s original songs are not included in the script but you might be able to listen to the show’s soundtrack with a simple Google search.

Here’s my question, with the entire script and a high quality recorded soundtrack now available to the world, is there a chance someone might try to resurrect Pokémon Live for a new generation? I guess we will just have to wait and see. I hope you all enjoyed this look into Gaming History You Should Know, post a comment below with your thoughts on the future of Pokémon Live!

Gaming History You Should Know – The GameCube/Game Boy Advance Link Cable February 11, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

Welcome back to a new edition of Gaming History You Should Know, an ongoing series where we take a look back at some of the best stories in gaming history, as chronicled by some of the best people across the Internet. Today, we will be taking a closer look at the Nintendo GameCube, the first gaming console I owned since the original NES. Nintendo’s GameCube may have come in last place when stacked up against the PS2 and Xbox console generation but Nintendo took some risks with it and it had some great games. One of the risks it took was in the form of a custom cable. While the GameCube may have been in last place, at the same time Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance was running nearly unopposed in the handheld market.

The Game Boy handhelds, with the help of a custom cable could allow for data transfer between two units. Eventually, someone at Nintendo realized they could use the Game Boy Advance’s data port to send data to and from a Nintendo GameCube, and they released a new cable to take advantage of that capability. Eventually, Nintendo released some incredible games to take advantage of GameCube to Game Boy Advance connectivity. Games like Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, Metroid Prime, and The Legend of Zelda: Four Sword Adventures are still discussed to this day. But how exactly did this technology work, and what were its limitations?

Enter Derek Alexander, formerly known as The Happy Video Game Nerd and now known as the host of Stop Skeletons from Fighting, produced this incredible documentary on the cable. If you ever wanted to know how the cable worked, what it could do, and how various GameCube games supported it, give this a watch.

Gaming History You Should Know – The NES Loading Seam October 15, 2017

Posted by Maniac in Gaming History You Should Know, Uncategorized.
add a comment

If you’re like me, you grew up playing the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and it’s incredible library of games.  My favorite game to play on that system was Super Mario Bros 3, a phenomenal side scroller with easy to learn controls and challenging levels.

However, if you play Super Mario Bros 3 on a modern TV, you may notice a weird glitched frame on the side of the screen. The first time I saw it I was concerned my tv or my game console was broken, but I quickly learned it was actually an integral part of the game, and eventually I learned to ignore it.

I’m sure many of you are curious what this seam is, and why it appears in a game like SMB3. Well, the great guys over at Retro Game Mechanics Explained did a great video about the phenomenon, and explain in great detail what this seam is and why it is appears in so many NES games.